Sight-singing technique / SAT 7-12-14 / Banker/philanthropist Solomon / 1950s-'70s defense acronym / Middle of Aeschylus tragedy with / Saint who is one of Fourteen Holy Helpers / Army equivalent of leading seaman / Onetime center for distribution of oranges /

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Constructor: Tim Croce and Alex Vratsanos

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: SPANG (45A: Squarely, informally) —
adv. Informal
Precisely; squarely: fell spang into the middle of the puddle.

[Probably from dialectal spang, to leap, jerk, bang, probably of imitative origin.]

Read more:
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This one is reasonably solid, but not at all to my taste. Felt a bit musty and not at all entertaining, amusing, fun. I taught the "Oresteia" in grad school, so I didn't have much trouble with the LIBATION BEARERS / ORESTES cross-reference, but that title is at least mildly arcane, so the pleasure one gets from solving it, if one gets any, comes more from that semi-smug feeling of being terribly well educated rather than from the answer's being inherently interesting or the clue's being particularly clever, well written, or funny. The other 15s are pretty nice, I'll admit, but most of what's crossing them is merely tolerable, and the cluing just wasn't very engaging. Puzzle has very little about it that is contemporary, and what there is feels quite trivial (here I'm thinking particularly of that clue on PATTI—18D: Stanger a.k.a. Bravo's "Millionaire Matchmaker").

The music stuff locked me out a bit (never can remember SOLFA (24D: Sight-singing technique), and had no clue ERATO was a classical music label), and I apparently have no idea what schnitzels are (CUTLETS). I know they were … some kind of meat, but that is all. But for the most part I had heard of the answers and could follow the clue logic—it just all felt a bit tepid. Your typical European rivers, your typical crosswordese answers in the places you'd typically find them, your DERAT, your SPANG (an answer that would've killed in 1830, but is perhaps less fresh today).

Outside the 15s, only "I'M IN AWE" struck me as at all interesting, though I very much liked the clue on WHEN, which it took me forever to understand, as I was thinking of a computer server (7D: "That's enough," to a server).

Had TUG ON for TUG AT, MAY I for CAN I, SAGO for TARO, LOAD for LADE, LENA for NEVA (man, even the mistakes this puzzle causes are trivial and boring). All in all, a sufficiently tough and doable puzzle, but one that I didn't particularly enjoy.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:09 AM  

Medium-tough for me.  Needed all the crosses for LIBATION BEARERS and finally decided BEARERS made more sense than wEARERS as LOEB was also a WOE. 


The center was the last to fall.  SOLFA looked vaguely familiar once I filled it in as did ARRAS which I know only from crosswords.   No idea about ELI either.  SAT,  PHILS and NFLER gave me the leverage I needed. 

Nice clue for TRIO. 

I liked this one.  Plenty of crunch to make up for yesterday's fun but easy  outing, but Rex is right, a bit light on the zip.  Unless you count T-Boz, Left Eye and Chili. 

wreck 12:22 AM  

Tough for me, but Saturday's usually are. No clue on the TAPPAN ZEE Bridge, ERATO (as clued), or ORESTES. To top it off, I wrote in "PHOENIX" before ARIZONA CARDINALS - when I certainly knew better!! I think I am getting better at "misdirection" clues, but I still struggle with the more esoteric answers.

Moly Shu 12:46 AM  

Challenging for me. Complete guess on the SOLFA/ARRAS cross, both outside my wheelhouse. Didn't know NEVA or SPANG, but DEPARTS had to be correct despite the odd clue. The 15's were my footholds and the easiest part. Don't like DERAT or REGRADE, both seem like something no one would say. This one put me on major TILT.

George Barany 12:50 AM  

It's nice to see a themeless puzzle by two of my friends, Tim Croce and Alex Vratsanos. Both have created themed puzzles for my website, and I particularly want to commend Tim's brand new Horse Power, a timely sports-themed tribute. Hope you like it!

AliasZ 1:56 AM  

I loved the toughness of this puzzle. The TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE was a gimme with only the T in place and EARTH SHATTERING with only the EA. The bottom third filled first, then the top. The center circle was made to look like a walnut on purpose, I'm sure, because it was a tough nut to crack for me. ARRAS? I must've missed that scene of Hamlet. SOLFA was easy (sol me do me sol do, remember?), and I could not imagine what possible OTHER gender option could there be on any form, modern or ancient? But at least SNOOP wasn't Dogg thank goodness.


DERAT, decockroach, no. Delice, yes. REGRADE, no. Downgrade, degrade, yes. Perhaps "Move from A to B or vice-versa" would have been a fairer clue. IRULE: I never, ever said that. I have heard it said, but not by people with whom I would consciously choose to share even temporary breathing space. KERRI and PATTI symmetrically? Interesting. SPANG, no. Smack, yes. NFLER, like AOLer, a definite no-no.

How many of you entered VANILLA confidently for "Plain variety", my favorite clue today?

The EARHOLE must be close to the eyepit.

The LIBATION BEARERS or Χοηφόροι (Choephoroi) by Aeschylus (Αἰσχύλος, c.525-c.455 BC) is the second of his trilogy, Oresteia (Ὀρέστεια), flanked by Agamemnon (Ἀγαμέμνων) and The Eumenides (Εὐμενίδες, or The Kindly Ones).

Greek tragedies are fascinating, reading them one realizes just how advanced and fresh they are even today. For instance, "The Persians" by Aeschylus is the only ancient Greek tragedy known that dealt with recent history when it was written, in this case the defeat of Xerxes at the battle of Salamis - not the Italian salamis - in 479 BC. It is presented from the Persian point of view, the Queen Mother lamenting the tremendous loss and the crushing defeat of her son's army. Truly amazing stuff of history and literature.

Despite the few objections, I enjoyed this puzzle tremendously. ALL HAIL, Tim and Alex. You rule. I'M IN AWE.

Submariner 2:17 AM  

Boring. Long answers bubble up to surface easily. Despite my having been a teen in 1955 I automatically starting filling in VERRAZANOBRIDGE because of the cross with ORZO (which I eat with a fork).

Unless navy tradition has fallen to new fangled changes, leading seaman is not a rank, but a title. He would be a seaman chosen to be above others of that pay grade. All Seamen (SN), Seamen Apprentice (SA), and Seamen Recruit (SR) are beneath him in the chain of command.

jae 3:09 AM  

@Submariner - No new fangled changes. An Army Corporal (CPL) is equivalent to a Navy 3rd Class Petty Officer (PO3). Both are E-4s. A Seaman is an E-3. The clue is a stretch at best.

chefwen 4:16 AM  

This one brought a little nostalgia. The first dish my Austrian Grandma Sophie taught to me to make was Wiener Schnitzel, still my husband's favorite. That was an easy start, the rest, not so. I will blame a three hour lunch with "the girls" as my downfall, but it sure was a fun lunch at Kauai Pasta.

Susierah 6:34 AM  

Too hard for me! Just could get it all finished. Spang, solfa, and arras all new to me. Got the se all finished, but filled in St. Louis cardinals. They are in Arizona? Got lip balm, prairie, something bridge and something cheeses, tug at, bodegas, and came to a screeching halt! Couldn't believe that football helmets had ear holes! A typical Saturday, which made yesterday's puzzle seem even easier.

Gill I. P. 6:36 AM  

Good grief...I studied the Greek playwrights in university about a century ago but for some strange reason, during all my years on this planet, I've never had the opportunity or occasion to name- drop Aeschylus' nor his trilogy...I mean where do you discuss him? At a cocktail party?
Me: Well hi PATTI. I was just thinking of you the other day while perusing LIBATION BEARERS by Aeschylus while listening to my ERATO records. You do know Jean-Francois Paillard don't you?
Failed miserably...I only had SNOOP, CUTLETS and CHEESE. (Says a lot about me).
SPANG makes me want to POPO. I need an EAR HOLE!
So...IM IN AWE at those of you who finished.
Now I'm off to Geroge B's site and down load Horse Power. Maybe I'll feel better.

r.alphbunker 8:11 AM  

Mild case of Rex rage today.

The puzzle definitely deserved a better review than it got. I use a program that lets me play back my solution. When I do this I am reminded of the scene in the Big Lebowski where the Dude is listening to past bowling performances on a tape player.

So I am nexting through the puzzle and see stlouisCARDINAL go in for {Pro athlete in red and white uniform}. Hah! That stays there until NFLER goes in (mercifully I did not think of mlbER). The stlouis then gets changed to phoenix. Hah! The nicely clued SNOW got rid of phoenix (it doesn't snow there does it?) . Finally ARIZONA went it in and that did wonders for the southwest.

And there are some strange gridfellows. LIBATIONBEARERS and SPANG, TAPANZEE BRIDGE and SEMISOFTCHEESES, etc. Where else does that happen but in crossword puzzle?

Gotta go. There is somebody at the door.

Glimmerglass 8:12 AM  

My high school seniors always found it amusing that Hamlet stabs Polonius through his ARRAS. No doubt they would get 43A today. (Hamlet thinks he's stabbing Claudius, but he pretends to be DERATting the castle.)

Mohair Sam 8:33 AM  

When it occurred to us that the Verrazano Narrows were probably there before 1955 I applied Wite-Out, wrote in TAPPANZEEBRIDGE, and the puzzle fell relatively quickly (for a Saturday).

Noted last letter for Rex was "P" in SPANG, same here. We enjoyed the puzzle more than OFL, but agree that it seemed to lack zip.

Great clue for PRAIRIE. Lack of knowledge of Greek tragedies cost us some time, but crosses weren't too bad, and ORESTES wasn't totally Greek to us. Don't know Billy Joel's "Big Shot" but took chance that ELAINES was hottest restaurant in New York at peak of Joel's popularity and filled as if a gimme - it worked.

@submariner - The only ORZO we eat is chicken ORZO soup - try that with your fork!

@chefwen - Live on the edge of PA Dutch country, get delish wienerschnitzel and jagerschnitzel (which I also make myself) in this area. Great stuff, and sure made 1d easy.

@jae - SPANG??? Well said, totally agree.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Tough puzzle. Really only come here any more because Rex has become hilariously pompous and whiny.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

You are right on about "pompous" and "whiny". It would be a much better post without all the smugness and egocentricity.

NCA President 8:54 AM  

Did not know TAPPANZEEBRIDGE or LIBATIONBEARERS. Only knew ORESTES because it is a very, very small town near Alexandria, IN, which is near Anderson, IN, which is near Indianapolis. Did not have the benefit of any high falutin' education to help me out there.

How is SCOWLED "Lowered?"

Had tHeas before PHILS. I only obliquely follow baseball (mostly in October), and I vaguely remember the Oakland As doing well recently...?

Only know SOLFA as Solfege/Solfeggio...I've never heard it called SOL-FA. But then again, I never learned Solfege, so there's that.

I live near the Hermitage in Nashville and didn't know the river was the NEVA. Oh's the Hermitage in Russia??

Also originally wanted "Trans" instead of OTHER. I think I like "Trans" better.

Zeke 9:14 AM  

I dutifully looked up SPANG do determine if there were any reason that that was forced on my consciousness this early on a Saturday morning.

Turns out there is, but not in the usage in the puzzle. Turns out there is a SPANG beetle, which is another name for the cockchafer beetle. SPANG clueing COCKCHAFER would be welcome in any puzzle I solve, SPANG as used here, not so much.

Dictionary 9:16 AM  

@NCA Prez -

low·er2 /ˈlaʊər, laʊər/ Show Spelled [lou-er, louuhr] Show IPA
verb (used without object)
1. to be dark and threatening, as the sky or the weather.
2. to frown, scowl, or look sullen; glower: He lowers at people when he's in a bad mood.
3. a dark, threatening appearance, as of the sky or weather.
4. a frown or scowl.
Also, lour.

James Dean 9:17 AM  

I could tell you how much I enjoyed this relatively easy Saturday puzzle but I don't feel like it.

Nancy 9:18 AM  

SOLFA. Never heard of it. But when I didn't make it into the Freshman choir at Smith, I was sure it was my total inability to sight-read, rather than any shortcoming in my (ahem) vocal instrument. You mean there's a technique to enable one to sight-read? Lay it on me; I want to know, I'm yearning to know! (Although it's a little late now, since Freshman Choir was 50+ years ago.)
Loved this puzzle, which I found challenging. In addition to SOLFA, I was held back by TWO seat for TWO DOOR; The A's for PHILS, and a complete inability to choose between SEMI-hard and SEMI-SOFT CHEESES. I was slow getting CUTLETS and PRAIRIE; thank heavens for TAPPANZE BRIDGE and LIBATION BEARERS. And ORESTES saved me from Bum for BRO.
An enjoyable struggle.

Casco Kid 9:19 AM  

Challenging. 1:51. I needed 8 googles to help me complete the grid, which then revealed 7 errors. Not sussable, by a mile.

REGRADE is clued backwards. How often are regrades downgrades? Never. Would someone please use SPRANG in a sentence? I set the coffee pot sprang on the counter, is an example of how sprang cannot be interchanged with squarely. "Sprang squarely" googles well as an dated verb-adverb phrase, but that was not the clue.

trans before OTHER. I wanted Jim MCKAY.

Clearly, there are much deeper levels of meditative suss that I'm not accessing. Today, I got ARRAS GHOST and OCALA using patient reflection, but so much of the rest of the puzzle was an inelegant wrestle.

You guys are in the deep suss. I'll keep trying to get there.

AnoNEVus 9:28 AM  

@NCA Pres, SCOWLED as in 'lowered the brows', probably arose from 'glowered'.

@Zeke, I recently attended an outdoor wedding; a little bird landed SPANG in the middle of the wedding cake, then left little bird-tracks all over the icing.

Casco Kid 9:35 AM  

@NCA prez: hypothesis: LOWERED comes from Shakespeare LOURED RIII.I.1 (this is the winter...), a copying error that should have been glour/glower. Just a guess. At least, it is easier to believethat lower/glower co-exist due to a clerical error rather than because the architecture of the language some how demands it. :)

Mr. Benson 9:47 AM  
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Mr. Benson 9:48 AM  

Reasonably easy, except that, like some others here, I made a wild guess on the SOLFA/ARRAS crossing. I guessed wrong, penciling in O. A was my second choice, followed by I.

mathguy 9:59 AM  

Hard for me. Needed my right-coast sweetie for TAPPANZEEBRIDGE although I had the bridge part filled in. Twelve entries I didn't know which qualifies it as hard. Didn't like "Greeting at the head of a procession" for ALLHAIL.

DNF because I guessed wrong with LOEW for LOEB and, foolishly, OVARIAL for OVARIAN.

Laurence Katz 10:04 AM  

Rex's spang comment made me laugh. 1830, indeed. But I have to say it's a good word, though one I haven't heard since....well, a long long time ago.
DNF, for me. Wanted
St. Louis Cardinals and European cheeses and those two set me way back.

Norm 10:10 AM  

Did not like this puzzle at all. Too reliant on odd names and obscure references.

chefbea 10:13 AM  

Too tough for me. Had St. louis Cardinal. Of course knew Tapanzee Bridge. Love the cheeses DNF

joho 10:19 AM  

The hardest part for me was LIBATIONBEARERS.

I loved ARRAS. @Glimmerglass, that's one word I'll never forget from "Hamlet."

@Rex, me too, with lEnA before NEVA. Was surprised when ELBE showed up ... NEVA want to see that again!

@r.alphbunker, I also confidently wrote in stlouis but saw almost as quickly that it wouldn't work with EARTHSHATTERING: nice long answer! So are TAPPANZEEBRIDGE and IDONTFEELLIKEIT.



In the end I was happy to have finished -- as I always am if I finish a Saturday -- and enjoyed the solve.

Thanks, Tim and Alex!

joho 10:21 AM  

Oh, and I'll trade you a SMACKDAB for a SPANG any day!

jberg 10:31 AM  

Another failure. Like some others, I wrote in VERRAZANO BRIDGE, which I felt was confirmed by the Z in ORZO, even though it was in the wrong place (but bothered because it's really the 'v. Narrows Bridge, I think); meanthile I decided lowered must be 'stooped.' By the time TAPPAN ZEE came to me, I'd forgotten about all that stuff up above, so ended up with 5 errors.

That all came later -- the only thing that got me into the puzzle at all was the gimme NEVA (somewhere I've got a photo of me standing in front of the cruiser Aurora, which tipped the balance of the Bolshevik revolution and was moored in the NEVA in what was then Leningrad in 1979). The Lena is way off in Siberia, isn't it? I think it's one of the rivers whose diversion for irrigation is causing the Aral Sea to dry up).

I enjoyed it despite the obscurity -- maybe because of it, I'm one of those smug people. It was still hard to remember The LIBATION BEARERS.

@Casco, "I punched him SPANG between the eyes" -- not that peaceful me would ever do such a thing!

All for now -- I have to write "I will check the crosses" fifty times on the blackboard.

mac 10:56 AM  

Pretty hard for me, especially the middle. Gouda is a hard cheese, except maybe when it is very, very young. It doesn't taste like much at that age. I did consider semi-hard....

Phils? I'm also an "oblique" sports fan, but don't the fans call them the Phillies?

Real Saturday, I'm happy with this one.

Z 11:08 AM  

The Oresteia... Is that the one where they all end up dead in the end? Or is that the other trilogy? Heck if I remember, it's all Greek to me.

Hand up for vanilla making pvt my leading seaman equivalent (interesting how that is above OVARIAN SPANG - I thought this was a family paper). I also lowered prices like a used car salesman. SlashED worked with the gimme of SEATO, but not ORZO. Still took forever until SCOWLED made me smile.

Hey, anonymice, an English prof having taught the Oresteia is no more bragging than a sailor knowing obscure knots. Get over it.

Easy south, challenging north, Medium sounds about right.

Hartley70 11:10 AM  

I found this a little tougher than the typical Saturday. I'm up a creek on Greek trilogies, sports teams and sportscasters. I had to google NANTZ to finish the southwest and I wanted Hosiery to run up the leg. It took me just over an hour and the google felt like I was back in junior high french class cheating on a pop quiz.

Carola 11:24 AM  

Agree with "Medium" - averaging out an easy top with a challenging lower tier. I had to parse out the 2 15's letter by letter. Last in was the N in the SPANG - NANTZ cross. (That "squarely" clue was really hard for me - I wondered if it could it mean "in a dorky fashion.")

As a classical music fan, I knew ERATO and learned NEVA from Prokoviev. On ARRAS - my English professor daughter used to play a game where her toddler niece would hide behind the living room drapes and my daughter would poke at her, quoting Hamlet. They got a lot of mileage out of "playing Polonius" - and resulted in a two-year-old runnng around the house yelling, "How now, a rat! Dead for a ducat!"


@Glimmerglass - Awesome connection of ARRAS and DERAT!

Fred Romagnolo 11:42 AM  

The Lena flows north to the arctic Ocean in Siberia. Lenin took it for his name because he was exiled there. (Vladimir Ulyanov) I knew choepheroi, but had to look up the translation. I'm in the "smack dab" camp - SPANG is not in my universe. Yesterday's EMPERORS was good - today's ALL HAIL is pretty bad. ORZO fork or spoon depending on the surroundings. Are there really modern forms that offer OTHER as a gender option? When LOEB is there, can Leopold be far behind? "The clouds that lower'd o'er our house" makes perfect sense (RIII,1,1), I don't see the need to conjecture a typo.

jdv 11:53 AM  

Medium. This was a good Saturday. A lot of missteps: THEAS before PHILS; NANCE before NANTZ; IDEA before HALO; RPI before URI; VANILLA before PRAIRIE. Tough clues for TRIO, ERATO, LOEB, ELI. Never heard of LOWERED and SHADE definitions; had S_OW_ED in place and couldn't imagine what it could be. Last square filled in was a guess at TAPPANZEEBRIDGE/PATTI. Liked it.

SenorLynn 11:59 AM  

56 1/2 min, DNF due to oRRAS crossing unknown vocal thing. @Rex, "mildly arcane"? How bout next Sat's we do the Greek tragedy in Greek alphabet? Pah!
@NCA president,I'm a baseball fan, put theaS & lost all hope in Kansas. Wanted egret for SNOOP--our neighborhood has an egret abagement program with noisemakers & such, so they don't nest in our trees & mess the sidewalks.
My wife the cook gave me SEMISOFT, ORZO, & CUTLETS. Had to google Ms Scrug,but got NANTZ somehow.
Nobody contributed "it's all Greek to me"??!!!

Z 12:08 PM  

@SenorLynn - I feel like a rat behind a curtain, stabbed SPANG in the heart by ORESTES. Or was it Macbeth? Mayhap Nixon? Heck, all these falls from grace are just Greek to me.

Casco Kid 12:11 PM  

@jdv Dante referred to SHADEs in the Inferno. They were more spirits than ghosts. It's the only otherworldly reference to SHADE that I know.

@fred I hear Facebook is now offering 58 gender options. Biology, forever behind the avant garde, continues to offer two principle genders XX and XY to mammals, plus a few mutations: XXY, XXXY, XXYY etc. Rather like broadcast vs. cable tv, I dare say.

Dirigonzo 12:48 PM  

I would have finished in half the time if only I knew that the CARDINALS were no longer in St. Louis - seriously.

I once broke down on the TAPPANZEE Bridge and placed what was my first emergency phone call using a cell phone - the "push truck" was in my rear view mirror before I set the phone down and I was off the bridge in under five minutes. They even paused at the toll booth so I could pay up before being moved to a service area; it was all very efficient.

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

SPANG? Left over from July 6- STAR SPANG LED BANNER??


I SCOWLED a few times, but it was gettable

chefbea 1:09 PM  

@Dirigonzo...the baseball Cardinals are still in St. Louis!!!

jdv 1:18 PM  

@CascoKid. I recently heard the expression throwing SHADE at someone, so that kept popping in mind every time I came back to that clue.

Leapfinger 1:24 PM  

Perfect. Drew on both the right brain and the left, ie, both cerebral LOEBs, although I frequently hit new LOEWs.

Was much impressed by a grid that has BRO for [Man in the street] on the one hand, OTHER for [Gender options] on the other. Seems to cover the extremes of social awareness awareness, don't it?

Hard cheese in so many places: I'm a rank novice in military matters, so PFC, as well as UNH. COP-->BRO, REDUCED-->SCOWLED, LEEK-->TARO, IRT-->MTA etc, ad inf, ad naus. 'Running up legs' had me thinking INSEcts, as in the stalagmite/ stalagtite thingy: The mites go up and the tites go down. Who thinks of SNOW days in July? I thought that was WEEK. But, oh so clever to have us think of LIPBALM by way of thinking about LIP[Stick]!

I'll take my BALM any place I can find it!

FRIDAY on Friday, SAT on SATurday: too cool.

Looking forward to music by Xavier DUGAT, or maybe a fine SOLoARIA.

Was it deGaulle who said "What can you expect from a country that produces 538 CHEESES?"? Shan't start on CHEESES or schnitzl, or I might never stop.[Btw, I don't schnitt them, I klopf them, chicken breasts, too.]

ALL HAIL fORESTES EWE who were able to comment last night. I didn't have a PRAIR by the time I was done.

What a great collaboration! Hoping for more.

Lewis 2:01 PM  

@rex -- I've greatly enjoyed and gotten much out of your pieces these past couple of weeks, where the criticism is simply laid out without judgemental overtones.

@aliasz -- that was one fine post from start to finish!

@jamesdean -- Good one!

I loved the clues for PRAIRIE, LADE, WHEN, and SNOW. LIBATIONBEARERS is very far from my wheelhouse, and yet I knew OCALA, though I don't know how. I did not feel punchless to me, as some have suggested, it certainly did have the Saturday Captain Crunch, an experience I have learned to love.

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP): I found seven answers that either embedded the names of animals, or were an animal outright, eight if you include the one found twice. Took less than five minutes. If you find more, write down the number of animals you found. Later this afternoon, I'll post my answers.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

Like Rex, I knew LIBATIONBEARERS and ORESTES but that didn't help a great deal because I tried to force VERRAZZANOBRIDGE for quite a while. And around here the only CARDINAL we know of is from STLOUIS. With liberal use of Google I finally got everything but I still felt like a victim of obscure cluing and pop-culture trivia.

Leapfinger 2:38 PM  

@Lewis, counting the one that appears twice, I found ten, and that's not counting the HOST of any parasite, or using a MINAW for bait.

No taxonomic genera were involved, I promise.

Joe Dipinto 2:40 PM  

I found ten, including one duplicate and one self-contained answer. Additionally, one embedding of 3/5 of an animal. :-)

Leapfinger 3:15 PM  

@Joe Dipinto
We used to play a game called 1/3 of a GHOST, and 3/5 of an animal sounds intriguing.

I looked to see if there were any animals that spanned entries, also, but came up empty on that.

AnoNEVus 3:21 PM  

I s'pose that with a co-constructor like Vratsanos, the grid would enCroce on Greek territory.

There, I said it and I'm glad!

retired_chemist 4:00 PM  

Medium, leaning to medium-challenging.

Favorite wrong answer: Gouda and Muenster as cathedral citiES, figuring maximum misdirection and no cheesy answers on Saturday. Actually not quite true but a fun stab.

LIBATION BEARERS - never heard of it but a few crosses (OK, a LOT of crosses) got me there. ORESTES I had heard of but Agamemnon was the only Aeschylus I ever read, and that as a freshman nerd required to read it about a million years ago.

Figured the Hermitage was the Russian one, so tried lenA first. Easily fixed by crosses.

A lot of crunchy fill, fun misdirections, and overall a strong offering. Thanks, Messrs. Croce and Vratsanos.

wreck 4:14 PM  

@ Lewis
I find 10 different

wreck 4:21 PM  

Actually 11

Anonymous 4:29 PM  


Turn your back and those little dudes start multiplying! Call the exterminator.

Joe Dipinto 4:47 PM  

Leapfinger, if you haven't yet spotted it, the animal which is 3/5ths embedded is ten letters long in full -- so six letters are there.

Joe Dipinto 4:55 PM  

I.e. six consecutive letters.

Leapfinger 5:05 PM  

Joe Dipinto, I really don't think we can afford to go down this road.

So far I've found 4/7 of a CHEEtah, 1/2 a coUGAr, 2/3 of an ELk, a dislocated PAN-THER, and the better part of a PRAIRIE dog. It's beginning to look like a charnel house in here.

But I'm curious to know what you found; I don't think I've ID'd it.

[Sorry, @Zeke!]

Leapfinger 5:16 PM  

Found it! I'm such a chump ;)

Very nice.

Lewis 5:19 PM  


OWL (scowled)
COW (scowled)
BEAR (libationbearers)
RAT (twice) (erato, derat)
CARDINAL (arizonacardinal)
EWE (ewe)
ANT (nantz)
HEN (when)

It looks like some of you found at least another -- so chime in!

@joe -- are you looking at the ANZEE?

Lewis 5:20 PM  

oops - PANZEE?

Leapfinger 5:27 PM  

BAT (libation)
Also, if RAT is allowed twice, maybe a 2nd composite SNOW OWL is also permitted.

Dirigonzo 5:27 PM  

@chefbea - thank you for that reassuring information - it's good to know that at least I wasn't just making stuff up. Although since the football team moved in 1987 I should probably try to stay a little more current. There's a "Super Moon" rising tonight - I hope you get a chance to see it.

Robso 5:43 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot, because it was hard, but I was able to finish it. In other words, nothing totally crazy. For me, this is what Saturday puzzles should be.

Joe Dipinto 5:43 PM  

@Lewis- yes- (Chim)panzee!

Stupidly I completely overlooked "cardinal", so that makes eleven. I also had "bat" in LIBATION BEARERS and "eel" in I DON'TFEEL LIKE IT.

wreck 5:47 PM  

ANI (bird - crosswordese)

wreck 5:51 PM  


Joe Dipinto 5:56 PM  

@Leapfinger- not a chump at all, you cracked me up! I like your other fractional findings.

wreck 6:19 PM  

If you did not have ANI ... What was your 11th?

Lewis 6:28 PM  

Good finds, all!

@leapfinger -- May you always be pushing the envelope!

@wreck -- WTG for finding the only one no one else found!

chefbea 6:47 PM  

@Dirigonzo We will see the moon tonight

Joe Dipinto 7:00 PM  

@wreck- I was counting answers, not animals, so I counted RAT twice since it was in two answers:

CARDINAL (which I first overlooked)

for a total of 11.

retired_chemist 7:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 7:21 PM  

@ Joe D -

ANI (5D) makes 12 - don't forget it. High crosswordese.

Is there a name for a collection of crossword geeks?

r.alphbunker 7:28 PM  


wreck 7:43 PM  

I feel really bad ... I was in no way was trying to brag or carp. I was just curious of what he may have got.

Dirigonzo 7:45 PM  

@r.alphbunker - "like"

Arlene 8:28 PM  

I got some of this - like the TAPPENZEEBRIDGE - but had to Google for the songs, names and teams. That's par for the course for a Saturday. I liked the 15ers - nice touch!

Leapfinger 9:04 PM  

Not trying to 'carp', Ha!

You get a kudu for ANI, and I can't believe I missed EEL. (facepalm)

Griderati is good, r.alph!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:10 PM  

Did this puzzle at the beach today.

In the You-Can-Tell-I-Was-At-The-Beach department: Had 9 D as ELBA before ELBE.

dm3000 10:32 PM  

I saw the Verrazano Br being built, and being finished - in 1964. Knew immed it was Tappan Zee because it's being replaced, and the 1955 date has been mentioned many times.

Carole Shmurak 11:22 PM  

I can tell none of you are Staten Islanders! I grew up there in the '50s and early '60s, and the popular refrain was "someday there will be a bridge to Brooklyn". So 1955 way too early for the Narrows Bridge ( as it was called before it was built).

Joe Dipinto 1:24 AM  

@retired chemist - yes, wreck spotted "ani"; I missed it, so good on wreck. I was explaining how I calculated 11, which wreck seems to have understood.

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Anonymous 7:11 PM  

Saturdays Comments Section

83 Comments (discounting scams).
23 Exclusively PPP related. (28%)

244 Actually lines of text.
110 Exclusively PPP related. (45%)

spacecraft 12:59 PM  

DNF. Started at the bottom with KERRI Strug, IMO possibly the greatest athletic hero (ine) of our time. To land on a BROKEN foot--and STICK it (!) is the epitome of sheer guts.

Even there I had initial problems, thanks to my faulty memory about Ohio amusement parks. It's CEDAR Point and King's Island, but my foggy brain mixed the two and came up with Kings Point. For a while I wondered if Ferguson really speled his first name with a K.

Once the Oh-yeah hit, things got better. The red & white guy was obviiously a CARDINAL--but which? Jim NANTZ cemented that. Bottom and center soon followed.

Then the north. A fatal error in the NE was a major derailer: my homophonic was foR (fore, four). I thought the last part of 17a had to be BRIDGE--but that left _FD____ for the corner shop. Were they going for a chain name??

Now as I look at the solution, I have to ask: how does "Lowered" get to be SCOWLED? Lessee, I SCOWLED the hammock so the kids could get in. The spatial-relations section really SCOWLED my test score. When Daddy got home, he SCOWLED the boom. Nah, that's a flag.

Plus, "Request often followed by 'please'" makes no sense. If you're polite, EVERY request is so followed. That clue is ridiculous, and it gets another flag.

The TAPPANZEEBRIDGE. Okay, I bet a dollar to a donut that this is somewhere near New York. You guys are getting more provincial by the day. Soon you'll have nothing in your grids but insider jokes that no one beyond a 20-mile radius of Manhattan would ever understand. Bah!

Then there's PATTI. Either you watch that show or you don't. I don't, so that was just one more obscurity for me. And REGRADE, realy? I'd REGRADE this baby, but to tell ya the truth, IDONTFEELLIKEIT.

1919; I don't RULE here, either.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Liked the puzz but it WAS a challenge until I googled Arizona Cardinals. That cleared everything up and I learned something.
Even though scowled is remotely correct, it's a far reach and probably hasn't been used by anyone in a thousand years.
I guessed at solfa and now I'm going to look it up, along with spang.

Yours truly, Ron Diego

Aa 2:03 PM  

It's a good thing I got yesterday's puzzle, because this one left me gasping for air! My plain "vanilla" told me that "pvt" was right - HAH. Got that there was some BRIDGE, put the CARDINALS in the wrong city. Knew ARRAS from old puzzle days but that wasn't much help with the crosses. Same with a hesitant guess on ORZO, which I never eat with a spoon. Off to do the LAT!

Going away for a couple of days to take grandson to Knott's Berry Farm. So see you later next week.

A mere 753!

DMG 2:06 PM  

That last post was me! Clearly not adept at understanding this computer age stuff. On the other hand, my repeat visit got me


rain forest 3:45 PM  

DNF. I could not believe that a synonym for lowered was SCOWLED, and so the banker guy was Torb Solomon, and thus I had SCOWtED, which I didn't believe either, but I like the name Torb. I also didn't know the name of the bridge, but I knew it was a bridge.

The rest came in brief flashes: entered EARTHSHATTERING with no crosses, and ARIZONA CARDINAL after considering St. Louis.

Give me another shot at it so I can say I RULE! CAN I, please?

135 Show me the money.

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

Snore and snort!
Tanked on this and don't give a whit! Suckerooney!

Waxy in Montreal 12:16 AM  

Very late to the party tonight but thought this indeed was quite easy though enjoyable Saturday fare. Shared similar reluctance as others to entering SCOWLED at 4A but guess it references the "look angry or sullen" meaning of lower for which I bet most people would actually employ glower.

BODEGAS means zilch to me so the NE corner was very slow to emerge. OTOH, found all the 15-letter entries other than LIBATIONBEARERS to be quite straight-forward solves.

Learnt SPANG - hope the opportunity to use it arises.

192 - ewe!

Bananafish 4:16 PM  

With SPANG being an answer, I think the clue "Shade" for GHOST is way too obscure. I personally have never used the term "Shade" for a ghost and do not know anyone that ever has either.

I ended up with entering SPANK/KHOST, on the idea that SPANK was the answer for "Squarely, informall", a la "brand SPANKing new" and hoping that KHOST was some kind of Asian shade tree or the like. I considered SPANG/GHOST and rejected it because SPANG was clearly not a word.

I also entered DEGRADE instead of REGRADE. Still not sure why BRO is a "Man on the street?", but I was hoping a BDO was some kind of reference to a Wall Street broker.

Not bad other than those spots.

Explico 6:24 PM  

@banansfish, think "ghost of a chance" and "shade of a chance". Yer welcome, BRO.

Bananafish 6:39 PM  


That does not help at all, cuz I have never in my life heard the phrase "shade of a chance" (and if you google that phrase, you will see that pretty much noone else in the world has either).

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